diagnose/fix boot/software issue: (e.g.) linuxmafia.com host

Rick Moen rick at deirdre.net
Sun Jan 4 16:35:33 PST 2015

On Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 3:14 PM, jim <jim at well.com> wrote:
> I've got a scope and various meters and other
> electronic stuff. I'm willing to cart them down if
> they'll help you.
>     I'm willing to bring bakery goods and other
> refreshments.
>     I'm willing to deliver a working 64-bit Dell 2?5
> with hard drive and RAM....
>     I'm willing to keep my mouth shut and my
> questions repressed.
>     Lemme know if you want any of the above.

Wish I could figure out what a Dell 2?5 is.

You should realise that I don't lack for hardware.  At various times
over the past ten years (and thankfully, within the past couple of
years in some cases), I've gotten piles of probably-functional 2U and
1U rackmount servers pulled from data centres.  What I've completely
lacked is time and patience to check those out and classify them as
known-goods or as units with questionable components to diagnose if I
have time (which tends not to happen) or part out or throw away.
Note:  There are often problems with non-server gear if you attempt to
adapt it to server roles, such as workstation ATX PSUs that fail to
power back up after restoration of PG&E power, that instead go into a
standby mode until a human pushes a button.  Such problems make many
workstation-class units unsuitable for server deployment.  (You might
know this, but many people don't, and find out the hard way.)

In all humility, I barely know how to use an oscilloscope and am
stumped about how I'd use it in diagnosing computer parts.  I own a
ratty old VOM that works fine, but can't recall a single time over the
past thirty years that I've used it to diagnose computer gear except
to verify the DC output of PSUs and power bricks.  I do have stuff for
diagnosing cabling (such as ethernet twisted pair) like an inductive
amp and toner pair, along with a breakout connector to get to all
eight pins, and related stuff (along with a Crimpmaster and what
remains of an old 1000' spool of CAT5).

Maybe I'm a dunce at these things, but the pre-eminent tool that does
pretty much all of the useful work, when attempting to do hardware
diagnosis (or for that matter software diagnosis) is logic and the
ability to concentrate and keep track of variables.  That and a couple
of screwdrivers.

As I think I was trying to stress to Michael, I certainly can either
figure out how to fix the current situation with the current hardware
configuration, or just do a from-scratch rebuild, restore my
(thankfully) complete backup data, and laboriously rebuild all of the
services.  I've just been enjoying not being hassled by computers
after six exhausting years at a very demanding, work-you-to-death job
where I did almost nothing but being hassled by computers.  So, I've
just been a slacker for a while, and not done the painstaking thinking
and grinding through logical possibilities -- or just the scutwork of
building up a replacement system configuration from scratch.  I
haven't quite had the motivation, or the energy, and a lot of other
personally important things have been more appealing for these past
few months.  It's been kind of an extended vacation:  I've gotten to
know my wife, my cat, and my garden again.  I sometimes am able to
enjoy some sunshine, and some good food that I don't have to wolf down
to get back to my desk or finish before I fall asleep.  I've been
cooking again, which is really nice because I'm a pretty fair cook.

Yes, I'll put the server back together.  I'm just enjoying not being
hassled by and about it, thus the extended putting-off of the task.

Thank you for the offer.  I'm not sure what I'd do with the scope, etc.

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